One school district installs device to protect against a gunman

school safety (1)

LA QUINTA, Calif. - It's been 18 months since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.  Since then 15 more school shootings have taken place.  The most recent at an Oregon high school earlier this month. 

School violence, sadly, is a reality, one that Desert Sands Unified School District is working hard to prevent, or at the very least minimize the damage.

"Every second matters.  The longer we can keep the bad guy out, the more chance police have to show up and defeat the threat," said Desert Sands Unified School District director of security Jeff Kaye. 

Kaye says it's about a ten minute window when the shooting starts and police arrive. Just ten minutes from safety or tragedy.

"We know what happened in Sandy Hook, we know the killer shot out a window and went in through a window," said Kaye. 

It was a window about the same size as one we found at one local school.  This one however is different, it's now shatterproof. 

"A bullet can pass through a window but the window stays intact," said Kaye.

If the shooter does get in, teachers will use a device called the Anchorman instead of key to lock the classroom door. It's already installed in many classrooms and easy to use. Teachers just have to step on it, to essentially bolt the door closed.  

When it's all clear, authorities and only authorities can unlock it from the outside.    

We tried out the new device and found it was much faster than opening the door and fumbling with a key to lock it.  

At Sandy Hook, teachers couldn't get the keys in the lock. Kaye explains why, "It's typical your hands get shaky and you have to line up a key with the slot for the key, where you don't lose your motor skills from the waste down and that was the concept of this door security device." 

The goal is to have one on every door at all of the district's schools as well as designated safe rooms and train teachers how to use it.

"We can get about 60 kids and four teachers into the safe room in about 20 seconds and you are not going to get in there and in that safe room we have food, water, telephone communications and bathrooms for the kids," said Kaye. 

The school district also has a way for students to alert authorities to a potential problem anonymously through a link on their website. 

The other two school districts in the Valley will also be enhancing security over the summer, including upgrading cameras and alarms systems.

Coachella Valley Unified School District is looking at different security devices to possibly install, but have not yet made a decision. 

Palm Springs Unified School District teachers will be training with law enforcement on school safety and an active shooter situation. 

If you have any questions about your child's school and class room, you can call the district or the school to get more information. 

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